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Main Programs and Courses Health Care Programs Child and Youth Services Worker

Child and Youth Services Worker

If you're passionate about making a difference in people's lives, our Child and Youth Services Worker program is for you - and the need for specialists in the field is constantly growing.

The Reeves College Child and Youth Services Worker program will prepare you for entry-level positions in a wide range of settings, including agencies, social services and community service environments.

You'll develop the expertise you need to deal with a variety of issues affecting children and youth, under the supervision of professional counsellors. You'll learn how to nurture young lives and support their well-being in terms of family, legal, education, health and addiction difficulties, and cover the foundations of child development and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on a child’s development. Courses include the Fundamentals of Poverty, Fundamentals of Addiction, Burnout and Self Care and Professional Ethics.

Focused on preparing you for the workforce, you'll participate in a practicum placement to give you the valuable hands-on experience you need to launch a career in this rewarding and worthwhile field. 

External Certifications include:

  • First Aid/CPR
  • Level 1 ASIST Suicide Intervention & Prevention
  • Level 1 Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI) 




This program is 44 weeks in length.

Social Services
Community Services Centres 

Hear from Reeves College grads

Olivia speaks to her experience in the Child and Youth Services Worker program and how it led to her dream career.

Program Courses
SSS4 / Student Success Strategies
Students will gain a better understanding of themselves through an exploration of their personal attributes, transferable skills and learning styles. This course will introduce techniques for time, conflict, and stress management and develop interpersonal communication skills. Fundamental study and motivation skills will be covered, preparing students to excel in their program of choice. Students will also prepare a professional resume and learn how to write effective cover letters.
SSW101O / Introduction to Social Service Work

This course is designed to give the student an introduction to social service work in Canada.  Social service workers and allied professionals play a pivotal role in improving the social welfare of individual people and whole communities. These helping professionals do so from a variety of contexts, but from a coherent “strengths-based’ values platform. Students will learn WHAT social services workers do, HOW they do it, WHY they do it, and WHAT good it does.

SSW102O / Professional Communication for Social Services

This course helps the student understand the basic elements of adult interpersonal communication. All professional communication skills (such as counseling skills, interviewing skills, and so on) are supported by a foundation of adult interpersonal communication.  
Focusing on the four main areas of communication, verbal, nonverbal, interpersonal, and group, the course gives the student opportunities to intensively practice basic communication skills via role-playing, feedback, and other practical exercises. 

SSW103O / Diversity and Social Justice in Helping Relationships

Diversity and Social Justice in Helping Relationships presents diversity from a much broader perspective than just race and ethnicity, exploring a broad spectrum of cultural and diversity issues and their impact on the client—counselor relationship. Students will have the opportunity to learn from external speakers with expertise in specific communities, as well as an opportunity to hone their clinical skills via role-playing. 

SSW104O / Professional Ethics

This course outlines in depth the counseling process with a focus on the counselor as a person and as a professional. Emphasis is placed on the stages of counseling, basic counseling skills, attitudes and values of the counselor, and the importance of the counseling relationship. Some other topics explored include: introduction to professional ethics, self
exploration, integrative approach to counseling, the role of technology in ethics, legal issues and ethics for helpers, working with difficult clients, values and diversity in counseling, ethical relationship issues, boundary issues, managing stress, and selfcare. 

PCGO / Psychology
This subject provides the student with a basic knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts that can be applied in the subjects that follow. Subjects include Introduction to Psychology, History of Psychology, Biology and Behaviour, States of Consciousness, Learning, Developmental Psychology, Motivation and Emotion, Psychological Disorders, Therapies, and more.
SSW106O / Fundamentals of Poverty

Fundamentals of Poverty explores the impact poverty has on the individuals who must cope with it, as well as the impact on the community as a whole. Particular emphasis is placed on child poverty in Canada, as well as de-bunking myths and stereotypes about poverty. Two special topics in poverty are also covered: poverty & homelessness and poverty, Aboriginals and the impact of the Legacy. The importance of education and occupation is also covered. As one of their module deliverables, students construct personal resource binders of local agencies and organizations that support people coping with poverty. They will be able to refer to these for future projects and while on practicum.

FOAO / Fundamentals of Addiction
This subject provides the foundation for further in-depth subjects in the study of addiction. The basic pharmacological nature and effects of a range of psychoactive chemicals are presented with an emphasis on challenging the myths of which chemicals cost society the most in terms of economic costs and social burden of human suffering. Specific target populations are explored, focusing on women, children, adolescents, ethnic minorities, elderly, the disabled, and those suffering from mental illness. Assessment, intervention strategies, and treatment options are presented along with the most common problems encountered during treatment.
SSW108O / Fundamentals of Mental Health

Fundamentals of Mental Health explores basic questions regarding mental health. It explains the formal diagnostic categories of the DSM-IV-TR, common medications used in pharmaco-therapies for mental health concerns, as well as the impact mental health concerns have on the affected individuals. Particular emphasis is placed on community-based interventions and supports for people living with mental health issues, as well as the importance of the duty to warn. As one of their module deliverables, students construct personal resource binders of local agencies and organizations that support people coping with mental health. They will be able to refer to these resources for future projects and while on practicum. 

SSW109O / Working with Families

This course provides students with an introduction to issues frequently encountered when working with families affected by addiction. Drawing on Bowen and Solution-Focussed family therapies, it provides tools that help social service workers understand various family dynamics. Basic strategies for interviewing families are reviewed. The concept of codependency is introduced, both in terms of the family life of clients, and the workers’ own risk for developing co-dependent behaviours on the job. A basic introduction to working with diverse family groups is provided.

SSW110O / Case File Management and Report Writing

This course is designed to give the student an introduction to case management, documentation and report writing in the social work field.  It covers the effects of deinstitutionalization and the importance of the case manager role. Types of recording in this course include process recording and summary recording, along with intake summaries. The process behind intake interviews, service delivery planning, building case files, and service coordination are also covered. The course also examines ethical and legal issues giving students an idea of the various areas where competence improves with experience. Various roles in case management such as assessment, intake procedures, outreach and resources are also covered.

SSW111O / Burnout and Self Care

Helping professionals who work with traumatized or otherwise ‘at-risk’ individuals are at risk themselves for developing secondary traumatic stress. The very qualities that led workers to the social service employment-- compassion and empathy-- are the ones that make workers particularly vulnerable to this. Murphy’s Law and the different types of stress are also brought to the forefront. 
Burnout and Self Care briefly reviews the nature and diagnostic criteria of both post-traumatic stress and secondary posttraumatic stress. The primary focus in this module is practical, hands-on strategies that social service workers can use to prevent burnout and increase self-care.

SSW113O / Community Service Worker Certificates

In this module, students earn the three external certificates bundled into their program:

  • Level 1 First Aid/CPR
  • Level 1 Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI) 

Instruction will be provided by certified trainers in these specialties. Typically, the trainers will be College staff, but external trainers may also be used when that is expedient.

SSW200 / Child Development, Trauma, Grief and Loss

This course introduces the student to the foundations of child development and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on a child’s development. The course will explore three main areas essential for support; child development, trauma and itrs effect on children and the impact of loss and grief on children and youth. Students will learn the age versus stage development expectations for children in a physical, intellectual social and emotional level. The course will also explore childhood trauma as a result of intense events that could threaten the safety or security of a child and impair the child’s abiltiy to trust and develop meaningful relationships with others, with emphasis on how childhood trauma impacts a child’s actions, social interactions, abilty to learn and care for themselves. The course will also explore the relationship between loss and grief and how grief is a response to loss. Students will gain an understanding of how grief is a normal response to loss. The course will provide the student with foundational knowledge on how the caregiver can support children in meeting their development potential in working through issues of trauma, grief and loss in a developmentally appropriate manner.

SSW301O / Advocacy and Empowerment of Youth

This course introduces the student to the foundations of advocacy and empowerment for young people. How to lay the groundwork for advocacy is explained, as well as ways to build rapport with youth to facilitate effective advocacy. Different strategies based on education components to empower youth while learning through education and personal choices is covered. Finally, how to advocate for effective standards of professions and healthy meaningful programming is explored.

SSW302O / Youth and Social Welfare Systems in Canada

This course is designed to give the student critical insight in to the social category “youth” and how the boundaries and definitions of “youth” are socially and historically determined, based on the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), the impact of various social systems (justice systems, social services systems, education systems etc) on youth identity formation is explored, as well as observing the differences in the Young Offenders Act (YOA) and the YCJA. The ways for youth to access social justice in these systems are outlined, as well as examining the growing inequalities around youth.

SSW303O / Interviewing Techniques: Youth

This course is designed to provide students with a foundation in interviewing techniques including the use of non-verbals, making effective inquiries, sharing and recognizing feelings, understanding others’ underlying beliefs, knowing what information to give and when to give it, and developing one’s own personal style. Effective communication is the foundation for one’s relationship with a client. Interviewing skills should be practiced in order to enhance one’s full potential. By the end of this course, students should have a grasp of the variety of these skills necessary to be a successful interviewer. The focus in this course is interviewing clients with various issues including substance or process abuse issues, so all role-plays etc. are designed with that client group in mind.

SSW305O / Introduction to Youth Justice Issues

This course is designed to give students an overview of the youth justice system of Canada as well as insight into the impact contact with justice system has in the lives of young people. Myths/stereotypes versus the realities of youth crime in Canada are presented. Community-based interventions, rehabilitation and restorative justice options for youth are explored.

SSW306O / Youth Diversity: Culture & Subculture

This course is designed to give students an overview of the impact of culture and subculture on youth. The specifics issues and needs of immigrant and LGBTTIQ youth, Aboriginal youth are explored. The impact of associations, activity, and style subcultures on youth is also investigated.

CES4 / Career and Employment Strategies

This course builds on the skills learned in the Student Success Strategies course or its equivalent. It provides information on how to use the communication skills learned in order to make a successful presentation to a prospective employer. Students also learn how to uncover the hidden job market and identify employment opportunities. Self-assessment during this course allows students to identify their personal skills that are transferable to the workplace and to describe these skills to a prospective employer. Students may be videotaped during a mock interview and will participate in the analysis of their performance in the “interview”.

AB-CYPRAC / Practicum

For this mandatory 100 hour (5 week) field placement, students are expected to act as employees in a workplace related to youth services, gaining the valuable “real world” experience that employers seek. Students are encouraged to find their own field placement site. The business organization providing the placement is not expected to pay for the services provided by the student during the practicum. 

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